A school for children with learning disabilities has taken delivery of a specially adapted new minibus thanks to Esh Construction’s collaboration with the award-winning County Durham Pound project.
Students and staff from Villa Real School, near Consett, were delighted to receive the bus which was funded by Esh Construction and the school’s own fundraising efforts.
Esh’s donation was secured through Durham County Council’s County Durham Pound project which involves a number of local organisations that are committed to working together to maximise social, economic and environmental value throughout the county.
Villa Real is a mixed day school for pupils aged from 2 to 19 years who have severe, profound, medical and complex learning difficulties, some of whom also have Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Cerebral Palsy.
Kate Marshall Nixon, social value manager at Esh Construction, said: “Social value is incredibly important to Esh. Throughout our construction projects we like to give back to the communities that we work in, be that through work experience, volunteering or providing funding to name just a few.
“For Esh, this project in particular is really special. We knew that there was a priority need for this school to have a minibus that would allow them to get out and about in their own local community and access worthwhile activities to aid student development.
“In terms of a message to the children, I hope you really enjoy all the opportunities that this bus provides to you.”
Cllr Ted Henderson, cabinet member for children and young people’s services at Durham County Council, said: “Esh was only too happy to provide sponsorship and we are delighted that between us we have been able to give the school this bus which will benefit the children at Villa Real by enabling them to get out and about in their community.”
Jill Bowe, headteacher at Villa Real School, said: “This bus is so very important to us as it is vital to get our pupils out into the community, especially since Covid.
“Our pupils go out to do sporting activities, work experience, volunteering and a whole raft of educational trips.
“Durham County Council and Esh Construction have supported us wholeheartedly and a huge thank you from everyone at Villa Real. The children are absolutely delighted, it is going to make such a world of difference to the pupils.”
The County Durham Pound won national recognition just last month when it was named Best Public Sector Project at the 2023 Social Value Conference.
For Esh, this project in particular is really special. We knew that there was a priority need for this school to have a minibus that would allow them to get out and about in their own local community and access worthwhile activities to aid student development."